"They all know my company has the best specialty products," Ben says. "If they want the best of the niches, they come to me. Once I get that kind of customer, they're customers for life." Ben specializes in big ladies, hairy babes, huge breasts, horny people of all ages, different ethnicities and various combinations of those niches. Channel 69's "Chunky Chicks" series has almost three dozen titles, as do the hairy-girl and big-boob lines.
"We've added some gay and bi material," Ben adds, "but with those we still work the niches, like older guys, hairy guys, not the same old stuff." Channel 69 doesn't follow in anyone's footsteps, and does not try to keep up with the Vivids and the VCAs. Ben and his crew are happy working the nice little gold mines that don't fit the business models of the big studios.
Ben started in the distribution end of the business in the early 1990s and did well enough with his video stores to move into production about 11 years ago. But working the niches is a very different business from mainstream porn.
"I have shoots going all the time in Europe and Brazil," says Ben, "and I even have an in-house director, because it's very expensive and difficult to find these special ladies." The rarity of big, sexy, hairy and horny ladies means that Channel 69 can't just schedule four girls for a one-day shoot and crank out a flick. Some movies take more than six months just to shoot scenes.
The capital requirements for this genre of porn, therefore, exceed those for mainstream girly or gay movies, because Ben may have to save some big-bust, big-babe or hairy-girl scenes for months until he's got four great scenes for a movie. "We don't do one-scene flicks and we don't compromise," says Ben.
"We have just one price structure, too," he says, "with no catalog, no compilations and no reduced prices. Our customers are very picky, and they come back." And when they do, they pay full price, every time, for every product — no exceptions and no discounts.
"It's because of the quality," states Ben, "that the prices are kept high. We don't work for the masses, so we don't care if we sell 1,000 or 500 because we're not just looking at today. We're still selling movies we made 10 years ago." At full price, of course.
Ben has seen a real increase in niche "in the last year particularly," he says. "We sell well on the Internet, we do a lot of store business and we keep tabs on things." Reacting to the increase in niche offerings, Ben has diversified by combining various niches into what could be called multi-niche movies.
"For each niche we are now trying to mix and match," Ben explains. So instead of just big ladies, you can get big Latin ladies, big and hairy black ladies, big-boob and mature Asians — any and every combination you can imagine. And authenticity is never sacrificed, which is why Ben decided long ago "to keep the prices high to reflect the quality."
It's worked out quite well, and the quality shows in every detail, from video quality to casting. "A lot of companies do MILFs with 30-year-olds, which is crazy," Ben says. "We do MILFs that are real women, and when we do 40- and 50-year-olds, they're all really in their 40s and 50s. And then we categorize the MILFs with every ethnic group. Like I said, mix and match."
"We have one price structure, and that won't change," Ben says. "And we will never compromise on quality. Period." On the other hand, Ben is committed to staying abreast of advancing technology, which is why his website offers VOD, streaming movies by the minute and all the other bells and whistles.
"With this business model," Ben says, "you have to be very disciplined, often holding material for months until you get more like it." As expected, Ben admits to being just as picky about packaging, distribution and everything else.
This pickiness is what Ben's customers depend on, of course, and there is little doubt in his mind that Channel 69 can target and capture a lot more customers who are willing to pay top dollar for top quality. "I've kept a pretty low profile," Ben admits, "but I'm thinking of doing a little more PR now."
Running down the checklist of success, Ben has a dedication to quality, the best manufacturing and packaging, a full-service website and a successful niche business model. Sounds like there's enough exciting and newsworthy material there for few great press releases. No doubt about it: Channel 69 is really tuned in.